Landmark of Faith
Historic Pine Grove Community Church unites worshippers in fellowship and preservation.
If you attend services at Pine Grove Community Church in Watson, you had best be on time. The church’s unique design makes it impossible to sneak in unnoticed.
Completed in 1896, the church’s interior was built to resemble a little theater that the architect and builder, Lucian Rumble, had seen on his travels. Parishioners walked from the entry at the front of the building along a central corridor, directly to the altar at the back of the building. Upon reaching the altar, they turned right or left to face the front of the building and walked up a steeply sloping floor toward a choir loft.
First, Methodists held services in the church. Later, Mennonites worshipped and gathered children for vacation Bible school. Classes were held in the basement, in tents in the yard and in tiny rooms under the sloped seating area. As a child, I attended Sunday services and Bible school here.
Unfortunately, the church was unoccupied for many years, so a group of neighbors of different faiths banded together to rescue it. The Pine Grove Community Church Preservation Society made many improvements. It’s been especially heartwarming to see the steeple standing straight atop the belfry and to hear the bell ringing again.
Now a nondenominational house of worship, the building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Pine Grove hosts weddings, semiregular services and holiday events. It is a beloved landmark in our rural community.